For many parts of the country, the winter season is not yet over. Rare instances of freezing rain earlier this year in Utah caused road closures and slippery highways throughout the state, and rain and snow continue to inconvenience areas nationwide with no end in sight for better weather. Road conditions easily cause accidents among pedestrians, drivers and truckers, especially those driving 18-wheelers, a type of vehicle that is unique in its construction and purpose. So, if these vehicles are designed to handle themselves better than most on the road, how are they different and why are there so many accidents?
Big-rig trucks and vehicles known as 18-wheelers are different, as they are specifically equipped to provide balance for the heavy loads they carry for long distances. Length-wise, these vehicles can boast a length of 65-75 feet long. A standard load on an 18-wheeler can weigh 75,000 pounds or more, an excessive amount of weight to be resting on one vehicle. Disaster strikes when the drivers of these vehicles collide with other vehicles, run off the road due to imbalance, or misjudge a distance when attempting to pass another vehicle. Among the causes of accidents for these weight-bearing vehicles are:
- Driver fatigue and distraction (through texting, cell phone use, and lack of sleep)
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs
- Cargo that is not secure and falls off or imbalances the vehicle
- Failure on the part of the driver to follow road signs and construction alerts
- Speeding and passing in an unsafe manner
- Working long hours without appropriate breaks (many drivers actually admit to falling asleep for short periods of time)
- Wheels that blow out
- Slick spots on the road that cause jackknifing (a circumstance where the back end of the vehicle flips around to align with the front end)
- Another vehicle hits the undercarriage of the truck, and slips underneath
The U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports statistics up through the year 2009. In that year alone, 74,000 people were injured in 51,000 injury crashes involving large trucks. That same year, the number of miles travelled was (in millions) 288,005. The Administration provides information in the form of training and seminars for those who must drive 18-wheelers, and strives to provide information that will help prevent accidents from occurring.
Trucking companies are required to adhere to regulations and guidelines to maintain their fleets of trucks. If you have been involved in an accident involving an 18-wheeler, you may have a claim against the driver, the trucking company, or both. Investigation could require accident reconstruction, bio-mechanical analysis, seat belt reassembly, trucking company history, and medical expert testimonies. When you are ready, you will want to seek the assistance of a firm who is renowned for record Record Truck Accident Settlement involving 18-wheelers. We are ready to assist.